Silwan residents, now facing transfer to the West Bank,
protest home evictions in 2009 (Photo: Oren Ziv/Active Stills)
This week Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat announced plans to strip IDs from 70,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem , and transfer them to the West Bank civil administration. Though not a physical transfer, this stripping of IDs will mark the largest en masse stripping of citizenship rights, since 1967, the Palestinian naksa, or “setback.” Palestinians who were forced into exile as refugees, or were traveling abroad in 1967 were stripped of their Palestinians ID documents.
The Palestinians from East Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Silwan, whose status will be revoked, are already geographically annexed to a “greater Jerusalem” by the security wall. The route of the wall cuts Silwan from other Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that are east of the wall, and west of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement.
Haaretz’s Nir Hassan reported on December 23, the stripping of Jerusalem IDs coincides with the opening of a massive new checkpoint in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat, and the re-emergence of construction on a settler road connecting Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumim. Finishing the construction, combined with the new checkpoint, would all but cut the West Bank in half– and complete the physical annexation of East Jerusalem.
Put the pieces together, and you get a picture of Israel erecting, at enormous expense, a major system of roads and checkpoints that would allow for the total separation of Palestinians and Israelis while also enabling the construction of Mevasseret Adumim, a neighborhood that would connect Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem.
E1 plan. A Jerusalem settlement bloc which would bifurcate the West Bank (Map: Ir Amim)
Mevasseret Adumim, located in what is called EI, currently has, “roads, electricity lines, traffic circles and lots for development,” according to Hassan. The transfer of 70,000 Palestinians, the new checkpoint, and the road construction all indicate that though development of Mevasseret Adumim stopped in 2007, plans to construct this settlement (which will break territorial continuity in the West Bank ) are back.